TNET 45: Baelin’s Route

This is a kickstarter funded short film made by a group of New Zealand actors.

It is not the mostest originalest story ever written and it does contain a lot of fanservice to fans of their Epic NPC man series that probably does not resonate with audience outside that particular circle.

But I liked it and maybe some of you will too.

Open thread, talk whatever you like, just do not be an asshole.

Previous thread.

Deadlier Than Chucking Nuns – And Legal!

In my last rant about the stupid “weapon” law in Germany, I mentioned that nuns chuckers are illegal to even own and use as training equipment. Similar restrictions apply to kusari, monkey’s fist, and several other weapons that are essentially rope/chain with a metal weight attached to the end.

Today I would like to expound more on the stupidity and nonsensicality of this law. Because when I mentioned that I used to train with nunchaku, what I did not mention was how I started. I did not have nunchaku at first, and it took me a long time to make them because I first had to get my hands on some suitable wood, then a piece of chain, then to figure ut how to make them, etc. This shortly after the fall of the iron curtain when buying even simple things still could be challenging, the internet did not exist and I was a kid with zero money anyway.

But what I did already have was jumping rope. So I took it, tied several knots on the rope to adjust the distance of the handles at the desired length, and voila! I had perfectly suitable training nunchaku. Not for training combat, but certainly for training flourishes, which is what I did. It also had the added benefit that the handles did not have too much mass to them, so even when I hit myself (which did happen at the beginning), it was never anything even remotely dangerous. It was also a great workout, much more fun than using the jumping rope for its original purpose. And then when I finally got some real nunchaku, I already had some muscle memory to use them safely. Which I did. And since the nunchaku weighed more than the jumping rope, the workouts got even better.

And remember, the reason why nunchaku are banned in Germany is that they can be used as an effective garotting weapon (no they can’t), and the reason for banning ropes/chains with weighted ends is because they are highly dangerous impact weapons by generating momentum by slingshot/whip effect (at usual length,  they don’t, it is just angular momentum like with a hammer, the only benefits to the wielder are that there is no shock transfer to the hand and compact size).

But guess what – jumping ropes, even with handles from metal and adjustable rope length, are legal in Germany! A thing that would be both much better for garotting than nunchucks and that could generate a lot more momentum than an illegal monkey’s fist keychain!

I will leave you with that thought.

How Many Nuns Would Nunchucks Chuck…

… if nunchucks could chuck nuns?

I am going to ramble a bit about my pet peeve nonsensical weapon bans and regulations around the world. I am in no way a freedom absolutist in this regard. Weapons are dangerous objects that definitively need to be regulated, and the more dangerous a weapon is, the stricter regulations regarding its accessibility to people should apply. There should be background checks, aptitude tests, mandatory training, and licensing for all firearms. But banning hand weapons is useless and oftentimes downright silly and makes no sense whatsoever.

Take for example the titular nunchucks. I have trained with nunchucks as a kid, I have never hurt my self and I never broke anything either. It was great fun and it was beneficial to me. They are great for hand-eye coordination, great for training speed, and spatial awareness, and it was a good workout too. What it was not – despite me not knowing it at the time – was useful combat and martial arts training applicable for self-defense. Nunchucks are a terrible weapon, although they are better than nothing (not better than running away).

To my great surprise a few years ago, I have learned that nunchucks are banned in Germany. Not only to carry around but to own or manufacture. You will not find Karate or Kobudo class in Germany that trains in their use, not officially at least. That is daft, especially with the reason given – they can be used as a garotting weapon. Well, theoretically, maybe, but they would be awfully ineffective for that. That is not what they are designed for.

And since I have already sold knives to people in Germany, I have looked into laws regarding them a bit and those are too silly squared. Knives that can be opened with just one hand are banned to carry. Knife with a fixed blade can be carried if one is currently performing an activity facilitating its use – like fishing, hunting, or mushroom gathering – but I have read some stories about knives confiscated on the way to a forest, so it can depend on how pissy the policeman you have encountered feels that day. And balisongs are banned to even own, just like nunchucks. I did not dig too deep into that, but whatever the reason, it is just silly.

Because balisongs are really, really bad pocket knives. Their advantage over other pocket knives is that they are very easy to make, but that’s it. They cannot be made very sturdy, their very construction means the blade will be always a bit wobbly. They cannot have any meaningful handguard so when stabbing something with them, there is always the risk of your hand slipping on the blade upon hitting some resistance. And several other things make them bad. The only thing they are really useful for are the same things that other small pocket knives are useful for – cutting food, opening packages, and so forth.

When watching some random videos on YouTube recently I have learned that flails and maces are allegedly illegal in parts of Canada too. And again, I fail to recognize the reasons for this.

In the UK, the reasons given for these imbecilic weapon bans are to prevent gang violence. It does not seem to work. You can ban nunchucks and kusaris, but you cannot ban keychains. You can ban knives, but not screwdrivers. You can ban maces, but not spanners, and hammers – and guess what, the gangs are using these everyday objects exactly for that reason.

I suspect that these weapons were made illegal because they were portrayed as very deadly in 90s action flicks. If so, then legislators enacting these laws should learn the difference between a movie and reality. Bruce Lee movies are NOT documentaries!

But OK, when these laws are in the EU, they are very silly, but at least they are somewhat consistent with the overall culture. But when they are enacted in the USA, their silliness condenses into a black hole of daftitude.

Now one can say that nobody actually needs weapons like nunchucks, maces, or similar and I should shut up about this. I disagree, but I won’t argue against that right now.

 

Slavic Saturday

In the spirit of the season I would like to mention one Czech tradition today. This week, Thursday December 6. was Saint Nicholas day. Name of the saint is in Czech “Mikuláš” and the evening before Saint Nicolas day Mikuláš travels through the country with an angel and a devil to reward children accordingly. Good children get sweets, bad children get coal etcetera. Santa Claus is nothing else than a poorly written spinoff.

The trio is usually either paid actors or volunteers who go from door-to-door for arranged visits to children, there are also visits to Kindergarten and to lower classes in School. Children are sometimes expected to recite a rhyme to Mikuláš to prove they are good, some children opt to being tongue-tied or hiding behind their mother.

I remember, as a pre-school child, being absolutely terrified by the whole trio. My parents never taught me that devils are real or anything such, nevertheless I still to this day remember how I was supposed to say a rhyme to Mikuláš but not being able to get anything out of me but a bawling scream of horror. I do not remember being confronted with the trio for the rest of my childhood afterwards.

Two of my friends have two beautiful, intelligent and lively sons, three and four years. When they were preparing them for Mikuláš’s visit at the kindergarten, they explained to them carefully and patiently that the visitors will be only actors, ordinary people dressed up and pretending. They also explicitly forbade the teacher to tell them otherwise and to scare the children. Even so, both boys were clearly afraid of the devil and in awe with Mikuláš and the angel and the experience was something for them to talk about afterwards.

Children’s power of make-believe at this age is so strong that lying to them is not necessary for them to enjoy (or being terrified by) the holiday at all.

Idioms & Expressions.

Have you ever been happily reading, and come across an idiom, expression, or turn of phrase you’re familiar with, and suddenly the absurdity of it strikes you? Came across one yesterday in one of Jim C. Hines’s Princess series, The Mermaid’s Madness. (Re-reading, they have become comfort reads).

“That earned another chuckle. “He’s prince of Lorindar. He’s not used to feeling powerless.” He climbed to his feet.”

Climbed to his feet. That means to stand up, but it’s a damned silly expression. The more I think on it, the sillier it becomes. I used to have a bunch of these absurdities in my head, but naturally I can’t think of any of them now. Out of curiosity, does anyone else have favourite absurdities of expressions? Or peeves?

Oh gods, I Got Rats!

Image: res.cloudinary.com

I love taking the silly quizzes at Medievalists, and I’ve missed a bunch. Naturally, I went for What Medieval Torture Method Would You Use on Your Enemies? first. I truly am evil, I got rats:

Rats

You are a creative thinker, and your enemies would be wise not to underestimate your imagination. Your preferred torture method is to restrain your victim on a flat, horizontal surface, then use inventive ways to trap rats so that their only means of escape is through the victim’s body. Not a pretty picture.

Well, I am certainly well armed with rats. :D I wouldn’t be able to torture them though.

RatWorks.™

The Chemical Crew has a great love of oil paints, which are kept seriously locked up most of the time. The other day, I squeezed the last out of a tube of black, and left that and a piece I was meh about on the drawing table, for the girls to have fun with. There was just a tiny bit of the tube left, and the girls left their imprimatur on the piece too, vastly improving it, I think. Look at all those lovely scrapes and scratches!

© Vala & The Chemical Crew.

The Rowboat Bath.

Some ideas were best discarded. This is one of them, from 1916.

The rowboat bath is the newest contribution to the physical enjoyment of living.

The rowboat bath is the newest contribution to the physical enjoyment of living.

"The rowing-bath has been perfected in a western sanitarium for the purpose of adding zest to the morning plunge. It is valuable as a curative measure, but it may also be used with enjoyment and benefit by any one. The rowing-bath consists of a metal container which is attached to the nozzle of an ordinary tub by means of a rubber cord sufficiently strong to give the element of exercise. Entering the tub, the bather attaches the rowing device and turns on the cold water. As it pours into the tube he scoops up the water and, pulling the container toward him with a rowing motion, empties it full upon his breast, thus securing the zest which accompanies the pleasant pastime of buffeting surf. This bath is a diversion from the ordinary "shower" on a hot summer day."

The rowing-bath has been perfected in a western sanitarium for the purpose of adding zest to the morning plunge. It is valuable as a curative measure, but it may also be used with enjoyment and benefit by any one.

The rowing-bath consists of a metal container which is attached to the nozzle of an ordinary tub by means of a rubber cord sufficiently strong to give the element of exercise. Entering the tub, the bather attaches the rowing device and turns on the cold water. As it pours into the tube he scoops up the water and, pulling the container toward him with a rowing motion, empties it full upon his breast, thus securing the zest which accompanies the pleasant pastime of buffeting surf. This bath is a diversion from the ordinary “shower” on a hot summer day.”

I wonder how many people bought this ridiculous thing before it sank into obscurity. Looking at that picture, all I can envision is what a mess it would make, and it wouldn’t be the male enthusiastic ‘rower’ who cleaned it all up, either.

Via The Public Domain.